Media Hits & Misses

Facebook Enabled Advertisers To Reach ‘Jew Haters’

  By  Julia Angwin, Madeleine Varner & Ariana Tobin ProPublica (9/14/17) Want to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally? Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you. Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’” To test if these ad categories were real, we paid $30 to target those groups with three “promoted posts” — in…

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Is Internet Freedom A Tool For Democracy Or Mind-Numbing Distracting Tool For Authoritarians?

www.thecommonercall.org   By Elizabeth Stoycheff & Eric C. Nesbit The Conversation (7/20/17) The irony of internet freedom was on full display shortly after midnight July 16 in Turkey when President Erdogan used FaceTime and independent TV news to call for public resistance against the military coup that aimed to depose him. In response, thousands of citizens took to the streets and aided the government in beating back the coup. The military plotters had taken over state TV. In this digital age they apparently didn’t realize television was no longer sufficient to ensure control over the message. This story may appear like a triumphant example of the internet…



The Thankless Task Of Being Michael Moore: Liberals Have Completely Misread Trump By Dismissing Him As An Idiot

By Jessica Pressler Vulture (9/6/17) You’d think that by now They would have stopped giving Michael Moore such a hard time. Everything he portended in Roger & Me, his 1989 film about the impact of the closing of General Motors plants on his hometown of Flint, Michigan, and everything he has been banging on about for 30 years since — outsourcing, automation, corporate hegemony, moral and political corruption, elite apathy and greed, the decimation of the middle class, angry white people, the fear and loathing of the far right — all of it has come home to roost, in the form of a very…


Warnings About Slippery Slope Of Censoring Nazi Websites Fulfilled As Germany Shutters Left Wing Anti-Capitalist Website

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/25/17) In a move critics characterized as a dangerous threat to freedom of expression, the German government announced on Friday its decision to shut down a left-wing website it claims has links to violence that broke out during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany last month. “This is what advocates of censorship are spawning,” said The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald in response to Germany’s decision. “Those who advocate state censorship today are its defenseless targets tomorrow.” – Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept Greenwald has sharply criticized those who have, in the aftermath of right-wing violence, advocated the censorship of right-wing views—a position he argues creates a…


Be VERY Careful What You Ask For: People Cheer Companies Kicking Nazis Off The Internet. But Who’s Next?

  By Jessica Shulberg The HuffPost (8/18/17) WASHINGTON ― The Daily Stormer, a website started by a neo-Nazi, has promoted racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic content since it was founded in 2013. But this week, after a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, several tech companies effectively kicked the site off the internet. Some of the companies that stopped doing business with The Daily Stormer argued that the website violated their terms of service by inciting violence, which major internet companies prohibit. But a CEO at of one of those firms sent an email to staffers on Wednesday that frankly…


It’s Official: Google & Facebook Are Straight Out Of Orwell’s 1984

“Nobody wants to live in the world they are creating.” Officially approved news, pre-selected history, predictive policing, augmented humanity, black box social engineering, established model officially approved healthcare, spoon feeding of what you are to know, think and believe. 12-Minute Video Evidence Of Google Blacklisting Assault On Left & Progressive Sites Continues To Grow – A growing number of leading left-wing websites have confirmed that their search traffic from Google has plunged in recent months, adding to evidence that Google, under the cover of a fraudulent campaign against fake news, is implementing a program of systematic and widespread censorship. Truthout, a…


The Generals Of Unbridled Capitalism Turn To Crush Free Press

  By Clio Chang The New Republic (6/23/17) Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press, a documentary about the death of Gawker premiering Friday on Netflix, opens with A.J. Daulerio, the former editor of the site, reading an email from his bank: “We placed a hold on your account.” Daulerio can’t help but laugh as he reads out the unfathomable sum: “$230 million is the amount of the hold.” The big legal fight in 2016 between Gawker and Peter Thiel (featuring Hulk Hogan!) was seemingly preordained for movie treatment. It featured an irresistible cast of characters: a vampiric Silicon Valley billionaire, an…


Why Journalism Matters: How A Scrappy News Outlet Brought Down A Corrupt State Business Hero

  (Editor’s Note: The podcast below really lays out what investigative reporting is about, how it is done, the way established powers resist and why such reporting is absolutely essential for all of us. It also shows the integrity and courage such reporting takes. There’s a lot of good information for young reporters – and citizens – in the podcast. – Mark L. Taylor) By Jessica Huseman ProPublica (8/11/17) Bill Stenger was a local hero. One of Vermont’s most important businessmen, he had created hundreds of jobs with mega-developments across the state. In 2011, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce named him…


Evidence Of Google Blacklisting Assault On Left & Progressive Sites Continues To Grow

  By Andre Damon World Socialist Web Site (8/8/17) A growing number of leading left-wing websites have confirmed that their search traffic from Google has plunged in recent months, adding to evidence that Google, under the cover of a fraudulent campaign against fake news, is implementing a program of systematic and widespread censorship. Truthout, a not-for-profit news website that focuses on political, social, and ecological developments from a left progressive standpoint, had its readership plunge by 35 percent since April. The Real News , a nonprofit video news and documentary service, has had its search traffic fall by 37 percent. Another site,…


Full Transcript Of Wall Street Journal Interview With Trump Leaked

  By Josh Dawsey & Hadas Gold Politico (8/1/17) President Donald Trump called his son-in-law a “good boy” while thanking Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker for a positive editorial about Jared Kushner and said the leader of the Boy Scouts told him his jamboree speech was “the greatest speech ever made to them.” The comments, made to The Wall Street Journal and obtained in a transcript by POLITICO, show Trump holding forth at length with Baker and engaging in a familiar back and forth. Baker, according to the transcript, asked many of the questions and took the lead byline…


Internet Freeze Out Begins: New Google Algorithm Restricts Access To Left-Wing, Progressive Web Sites

By Andre Damon and Niles Niemuth World Socialist Web Site (7/27/17) In the three months since Internet monopoly Google announced plans to keep users from accessing “fake news,” the global traffic rankings of a broad range of left-wing, progressive, anti-war and democratic rights organizations have fallen significantly. On April 25, 2017, Google announced that it had implemented changes to its search service to make it harder for users to access what it called “low-quality” information such as “conspiracy theories” and “fake news.” The company said in a blog post that the central purpose of the change to its search algorithm…



Corporate Media Largely Silent On US Civilian Death Toll In Iraq

  By Adam Johnson Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (7/19/17) Earlier this week, human rights group Amnesty International issued a lengthy report accusing US-backed forces of “repeated violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes,” in Mosul, Iraq, causing the deaths of at least 3,700 civilians. Neither this report, nor the broader issue of the civilian toll in the US war against ISIS, has come close to penetrating US corporate media. The only major radio or television outlet to report on Amnesty’s claims was NPR (7/12/17). While traditional print outlets, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, did run Reuters (7/11/17) and AP (7/12/17) articles,…


Warping Reality: Computer Scientists Demonstrate The Potential For Whole New Level Of Fake News Video

By Aarti Shahani NPR (7/14/17) An update from the Wild Wild West of fake news technologies: A team of computer scientists have figured out how to make words come out of the mouth of former President Barack Obama — on video — by using artificial intelligence. If you’ve been on the internet at any point in the last year, there’s a good chance you’ve come across fake news articles. Well, soon enough we may see a wellspring of fake news videos. As a team out of the University of Washington explains in a new paper entitled “Synthesizing Obama: Learning Lip Sync from…


Karma: Joe And Mika Owe America An Apology

TheCommonerCall.org    By Peter Dreier Common Dreams (7/2/17) Most media reports have portrayed Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski as aggrieved victims of Donald Trump’s Thursday Twitter tantrum. It can’t be pleasant to be attacked so personally by the president, but Scarborough and Brzezinski are fighting back. On their MSNBC show “Morning Joe” on Friday and in an op-ed column in the Washington Post entitled “President Trump Is Not Well,” they chastised Trump for his vicious and vulgar attacks on her appearance, for referring to her as “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and him as “Psycho Joe.” They denied Trump’s claim that she…


As Democratic Voters Shift Left the ‘Liberal Media’ Keep Shifting To The Right

  By Adam Johnson Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (6/30/17) In the past few years, the Democratic Party’s rank and file have shifted left on major issues. From healthcare to legalization of drugs to taxes, the heart of the party has grown more progressive—and, in many instances, overtly socialist in nature. Forty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents now identify as both socially liberal and economically moderate or liberal, up from 39 percent in 2008 and 30 percent in 2001. In contrast, nominally liberal media—or major media whose editorial line is reliably pro-Democratic—have drifted rightward. On Wednesday, MSNBC announced it had hired torture-supporting, climate-denying, anti-Arab racist Bret Stephens, a recent hire at the New York Times opinion page….


Roger Ailes: Good Riddance To America’s Number One Hate Propagandist

By Matt Taibbi Roling Stonr (5/18/17) On the Internet today you will find thousands, perhaps even millions, of people gloating about the death of elephantine Fox News founder Roger Ailes. The happy face emojis are getting a workout on Twitter, which is also bursting with biting one-liners. When I mentioned to one of my relatives that I was writing about the death of Ailes, the response was, “Say that you hope he’s reborn as a woman in Saudi Arabia.” Ailes has no one but his fast-stiffening self to blame for this treatment. He is on the short list of people…


“A Scandal” – After FCC Bent Rules, Right-Wing Sinclair Network Set To Grow Even Bigger Than Fox

TheCommonerCall.org   By Diedre Fulton Common Dreams (5/8/17) Creating the nation’s largest local TV station conglomerate—and raising the frightening prospect of a network that would rival Fox News—conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group announced Monday [5/8] it will buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. Craig Aaron, president of the communications watchdog organization Free Press, called the deal “a scandal,” while former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner and Common Cause adviser Michael Copps said it was both “expected and disappointing.” “Expected because the new FCC majority is foaming at the mouth to rubber stamp more massive media mergers,” Copps explained, “and disappointing because…


Failings Of The NY Times: 100 Day Trump Apologism Shows Fraud Of ‘Both Sides’ Reporting

  By Adam Johnson Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (5/3/17) New York Times White House reporter Peter Baker (4/29/16) appears to have set out in earnest to write a “balanced” review of Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. In doing so, he exposed the futility of such an exercise. Baker spins some of Trump’s worst and most dangerous traits as positives, downplays his constant threats and impulsivity and tortures the English language to find praise where none ought to exist. First the latter: Baker attempts to find symmetry in Trump’s approach to “transparency,” by conflating actual governmental openness with…


Olbermann: Why Won’t The Press Ask Trump Anything?

“Our media has largely choked.” * “We pretend this is just another presidency and just another difference of political opinion.” * “Ask him! For godsake ask him, I’m begging you, because the media of this country is too terrified of being accused of not being balanced to come out and state the obvious, that emotionally the president is not at all balanced.”   8-Minute Video


Death By Euphemism: Washington Post Can Identify The ‘Far Right’ In France– But When It Comes To The White House, It’s Merely ‘Conservative’

The CommonerCall.org   By Jim Lobe LobeLog.com (4/24/17) There are no major ideological differences between White House strategist Steve Bannon and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Yet it seems that the Washington Post considers them to be very different. According to the Post, Bannon and his backers are “conservatives.” Le Pen and her National Front, meanwhile, are “far right.” Of course, the whole notion that Bannon is “conservative” is ludicrous on its face. A typical “conservative” would not boast of being a “Leninist” who “want[s] to destroy the state [and] … bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of…


On The NYT Op-Ed Page Climate Denial, Racism & Pro-Torture Don’t Make You Cringe – But Single-Payer Does

TheCommonerCall.org By Adam Johnson Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (4/20/17) The New York Times is the most influential newspaper in the English-language world, not just because of its reach and leadership status within the industry, but because it defines the boundaries of acceptable debate. Being in the New York Times is a legitimizing event, one that cements ideas as not fringe, “other,” or in the realm of the dreaded, career-ending “conspiracy theory.” So it understandably upset many liberals when the Times decided to bestow upon hard-right Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens the ultimate stamp of Acceptable…


WTH? The New York Times Just Hired A Climate Denier Columnist

TheCommonerCall.org   By Kate Aronoff In These Times (4/12/17) In late March, the New York Times’ editorial board called President Trump’s move to dismantle Obama-era climate protections “deeply dismaying,” citing “the rock-solid scientific consensus that without swift action the consequences of climate change—rising seas, more devastating droughts, widespread species extinction—are likely to get steadily worse.” Today the paper announced it has hired a climate denier as an op-ed columnist. Bret Stephens, currently the Wall Street Journal’s deputy editorial page editor, has won a Pulitzer Prize. He has also written multiple pieces casting doubt on what in 2014 he called “the purported…


Media Failure: Tepid Self-Censored Questions By Career Questioners

By Ralph Nader The Nader Page (4/3/17) I’ve always been intrigued by the major questions not asked by reporters at press conferences, not asked by legislators at public hearings or even the questions citizens at town meetings don’t ask public officials. It’s not that they do not know about or could not easily become informed enough about a given issue and ask substantive questions. It’s just that so many taboos are packed into these questioners’ ideological mindset, career goals or concern with what other people over them might think. Maybe it is a culturally-rooted fear of challenging entrenched power brokers….


Skewed: Media Find Lots Of Room For Right Wing ‘Trumpcare Too Progressive’ Whining But Not For Single-Payer Advocates

By Michael Corcoran Fairness & Accuracy in Media (3/15/17) In May 2009, at the infancy of the healthcare reform battle that led to the Affordable Care Act, a group of nurses and single-payer activists were arrested for disrupting a Senate Finance Committee meeting chaired by Sen. Max Baucus (D.–Mont.) (Democracy Now, 5/13/09). These activists had been ignored by politicians and corporate media for years (FAIR.org, 3/6/09), and hoped an arrest, or eight,  would bring attention to their cause. Despite the efforts of the “Baucus 8,” the New York Times did not report on the event. Nor did much of the…


Sanders Supporters Were Targeted & Played By Russian Trolls Who Continue To Infect Left-wing Online Conversation

  By Ryan Grim & Jason Cherkis The Huffington Post (3/10/17) WASHINGTON ― Last June, John Mattes started noticing something coursing like a virus through the Facebook page he helped administer for Bernie Sanders fans in San Diego. People with no apparent ties to California were friending the page and sharing links from unfamiliar sites full of anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda. The stories they posted weren’t the normal complaints he was used to seeing as the Vermont senator and the former secretary of state fought out the Democratic presidential primary. These stories alleged that Clinton had murdered her political opponents and…


Jon Stewart Lets You Know Sure Fire Way To Tell When Trump Is Lying To Your Face

TheCommonerCall.org The Commoner Call (3/2/17) Jon Stewart made a surprise appearance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Night show with a couple important messages for citizens and the journalists they depend upon for the information necessary to the functioning of a democratic government. On the first score Stewart did what so few are willing to do in the media: to call out Donald Trump – the Supposed-President – for the blatant liar that he is. What’s a quick tip-off that Trump is about to lie to your face, Stewart asks? Whenever he says “Believe me…”, Stewart notes. Think of all the times…


Wall Street Journal Editor Forced Out Over Trump Coverage

By Rosie Grey The Atlantic (2/10/17) TheWall Street Journal’s editorial features editor has left the paper following tensions over the section drifting in a pro-Donald Trump direction. News of the departure of Mark Lasswell, who edited op-eds for the Journal, comes as the paper’s internal tensions over Trump have begun to spill into public view. The reliably hawkish, pro-trade, small government conservative Journal op-ed page has been challenged by the rise of the populist, nationalist Trump movement. The Journal’s opinion pages have been a showcase for the intra-right divide over Trump, featuring Trump-sympathetic writers like Bill McGurn alongside anti-Trump columnists…


CARTOON: Wall Street Journal Staffers Grumbling About The Paper Going Soft On Coverage Of Trump’s Poop Will Get To Tell Their Boss

  (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** By Michael Calderone The Huffington Post (2/8/17) Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker announced Wednesday [2/8] that he plans to hold a town hall meeting next week to discuss “a range of topics.” He specifically mentioned one topic that’s been on the minds of Journal staffers: the paper’s reorganization plan known as WSJ 2020. But he didn’t mention another one that’s been the talk of the Journal’s newsroom: coverage of President Donald Trump. It likely will come up anyway….


Journalist Chris Hedges Offers Contrarian Critique On Media & DNC Narrative Of Russian Role In Election

The Commoner Call (1/23/17) Lee Camp kicks off the first Redacted Tonight VIP of 2017 [1/13/17] with New York Times best-selling author Chris Hedges, host of On Contact and columnist for Truthdig. Hedges describes a very different view on the debate about the role of Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence in the 2016 election than the dominating narrative of the media and the Democratic National Committee. Hedges warns that all the dark talk of Russian influence and subterfuge is simply an excuse for ramping up military conflict with Russia; the war state needs a new market for its deadly toys….


No Picture

The Life Of Muckraking Journalist George Seldes Is A Story Of Bold Resistance In Dark Times

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/19/17) Trump’s inaugural extravaganza will no doubt contain enough bombast and darkness for a 1950’s Grade B monster movie. If you are looking for some inspiration of how a citizen can stand for right in difficult times check out the 1998 documentary “Tell The Truth And Run”,  a wonderful overview of the bold life of muckraker journalist George Seldes. As a witness to some of the greatest horrors and abuses of the 20th century, Seldes triggered the wrath of everyone from Gen. Pershing to Adolph Hitler, who tried to have him killed. Oh,…